Improving the Microsoft Office Specialist Testing Experience

Certiport is committed to providing an excellent testing experience for candidates with any exam we offer. Due to the demand and importance of the Microsoft Office Specialist certifications and in line with the feedback we have received from many of our customers, we have made great strides towards improving the exam testing and delivery experience over the past few months. We are mindful that some customers may have experienced challenges in the past, and Certiport has been working to address those issues. Our goal is to provide our customers with a simple, smooth and painless testing experience. It is our highest priority.

Examples of previous issues customers may have experienced include:

  • Frequent changes to the Microsoft Office software and our test delivery platform that affected a Certiport Authorized Testing Center’s ability to deliver Microsoft Office Specialist exams. Specifically, the Office 365 automatic updates sometimes affected software compatibility within the exams. In some cases, Office 365 software updated testing centers past Office 2016 without customers realizing it. In some cases, Office 365 software updated to new versions of Office 365, which, in some cases, has caused issues with the Office 365 and Office 2019 exams
  • Some interactions between Office software and the exam delivery platform caused exam freezes or other frustrating situations for candidates
  • Internationally, updates received through Compass may have been very slow

After helping proctor over a hundred and thirty thousand exams via Certiport’s very popular “Exams from Home” solution, we have also gained additional insight about the exam experience that we realized could be refined. These include:

  • User flows involving exam and program selection, payment method selection, and exam groups were cumbersome or confusing to candidates.
  • The exam tutorial and demographic survey were taking away from the simple, smooth experience we want our candidates to have.

We have made it a top priority over the past few months to address the issues above to help improve the exam experience. In the spirit of collaboration, we want to share with you the actions being taken:

  • We have undertaken a massive effort to ensure that we will have exam forms supporting any version of Office 365 that may be on candidates’ computers. We have to do analysis and updates as new versions of Office 365 are released, so the support may not always be instantaneous, but our commitment to you, which we have already undertaken to fulfill, is that we will support all builds of Office software that our customers have moving forward. Please note that if customers have Office 365, they should prepare candidates to take the Office 365 and Office 2019 exams.
  • We have simplified the process for choosing the correct Microsoft Office Specialist exam. After a candidate selects their exam, we will serve up the right exam for the software installed on the candidate’s computer. As an example, for computers with Office 365 installed, we will automatically serve up the Office 365 and Office 2019 exams to ensure candidates don’t run into issues from taking the MOS 2016 exams using more updated software.
  • We have made significant changes to the functionality of our test platform so that errors and scenarios that have traditionally resulted in frozen exams will be dealt with more seamlessly and invisibly, enabling users to continue to progress through the exam with fewer issues.
  • We have released a distributed content delivery network to make taking downloads of new Compass updates quicker and more user-friendly. Instead of international servers having to communicated with servers in the United States, there is now a global network of servers to aid customers with that process.
  • We have revised the Compass test delivery system user flows to minimize the number of selections candidates must make before they launch the exam. Instead of having to choose payment methods, exam programs, etc., we have streamlined as much as possible so the system automatically, or as simply as possible, progresses candidates through to the exam.
  • Once the exam launches, we are removing the demographic survey (we will work to capture that important psychometric information elsewhere) and simplified the tutorial and NDA acceptance processes in order to get candidates testing quicker. We have also clarified and improved the end-of-exam experience so candidates will have an easier time choosing to leave item-level feedback or opting to progress to see their scores.

Many of these updates will be released on September 17, 2020, with all updates being released by November 1, 2020. We look forward to assessing their impact and making further improvements on a continual basis.


Interested in learning more about the Microsoft Office Specialist certification? Get all the details here